To this day she is considered the worst singer in the world. Florence Foster Jenkins (1868–1944) was a wealthy New York art patron. It hit no note, had no rhythm, no talent. You yourself did not suspect that.
Florence considered herself a talented opera singer. In fact, her weird appearances at the New York Hotel Ritz-Carlton achieved cult status. Florence Foster Jenkins, “the queen of dissonances”, tormented opera fans for years and yet in 1944 she even made it to the legendary Carnegie Hall.
Nobody told her how awful she sings. Because nobody wanted to alienate the generous patroness. On Sunday, Arte will show the movie “Florence Foster Jenkins” (8:15 pm). Tip: Better turn off the sound in between.
Ironically, the highly talented Meryl Streep plays Florence in this love comedy – and sings even the weirdest notes. It wasn’t until he was 44 that Jenkins met the man of her life, the actor St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant).
He’s your mentor, your manager. And he fools her out of love: Top reviews in newspapers, gossipers in the audience – everyone is lubricated by him. Florence really feels like an opera diva.
But on October 25th, at the age of 76, she rents Carnegie Hall and performs there. The tickets are sold out in no time. The audience is amazed at first, then they start to hoot and bend with laughter.
The reviews are horrifying – and Florence realizes that her talent is just a big bluff. A month later, Florence Foster Jenkins dies of a heart attack.
Hugh Grant and Meryl Streep shine. Fremdschäm-amusement and the love of classical music – absolutely worth seeing.